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MARION (Aug. 9 10) – Water projects are proceeding apace, a rezoning request was granted for a property downtown, and cemeteries are a growing concern.

But an exchange between the Marion Town Board and resident Jon Fontaine caused a bit of a stir in tonight’s meeting.

Fontaine rose to read a letter, replying to statements made by Town Board Member Linda Lee in a letter to the editor printed in the Wayne County Star, a paper Fontaine writes an opinion column for.

Lee’s letter was a response to a column Fontaine wrote which, she felt, directly intimated the town board had decided to use the MRB Group to advise on the sewer plant project because the engineering firm “donates money to help keep Jody Bender and her fellow Republican supervisors in office.”

“That’s a strong accusation,” Lee wrote, “and it’s a lie. Jody Bender has not asked for – nor received – any financial support from the Wayne County Republican Committee.” She added that Fontaine “rips apart the motives and character of people he doesn’t know, by presenting information that’s full of misrepresentations, omissions, and destructive intent.”

Fontaine defended his remarks. He said he had a “right to demand accountability,” feeling that it is “MRB who stands to directly benefit should Marion replace the Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

He said he did not make an accusatory statement against the board, but merely asked a rhetorical question. He countered that Lee’s comment “’that Supervisor Bender has not received any support from the Republican Committee’ is a misleading and inaccurate piece of information. Perhaps no one from the committee has ever handed Supervisor a bag of cash or paid for her expenses, but when I met with the County Board of Elections to discuss running against Supervisor Bender, they told me I cannot run for supervisor as a republican without the support of the committee and Mr. Olson.”

Fontaine got back to the sewer plant, asking for the town to get a second opinion on the necessity of replacing it. Failure to do so, he told the board, “is not only a lack of performing your due diligence, but outright negligence.” Board members, including Lee, reminded him that even if the present plant is repaired, it still won’t meet treatment standards.

Town Board Member Michael Fonte also told Fontaine that his remarks at the last meeting broached an “improper subject” – that people were allegedly receiving money from other sources for their own political gain.

At that point, Bender stopped the debate, saying Fontaine and Fonte had both had their say.

In business matters, the board discussed:

REZONING – John Capezzuto, doing business as Beach Capital Development, was granted a rezoning of his property at 3849 N. Main St. from LR (low Residential) to B1 Business. A church once stood on the lot, between the Laundromat and the elementary school. Capezzuto has said he does not know what he will do with the property. His zoning request got approval from the Wayne County Planning Board.

CEMETERIES – Fonte said he had done a walk-through of the abandoned Hall Center Road Cemetery and felt if some tress were removed and others pruned, it would look a lot better. “If we’re going to clean it, we’ll need the Highway Dept to clear out the boulders.

Highway Superintendent Tim Boerman added that ”the cemetery on North Main is also a mess. Fontaine, from the audience, asked the board to hold off doing anything. “Some of these are privately owned,” he said.

“The owners are long gone,” said Fonte

“The town should not be maintaining it if they’re not paying taxes,” Fontaine said.

“The law says we have to maintain it,” said Bender.

Fonte said one corner of the North Main Street cemetery is overgrown with poison ivy and will take three years to get rid of it all.

EQUALIZATION RATE – Bender announced she had received notification from the state that Marion had a 98 percent equalization rate. Fonte and Bender said school taxes would be affected more than town taxes.

WATER PROJECTS – The project for a second extension for Water District #1 (Huntley, Goosen, Parker, Sherwood and Maple Roads) is proceeding well. The town must complete a Bog Turtle field investigation before any work can proceed. Bender said the project could begin as early as mid-September. “I’ll be happy when we see the blue pipe on the ground,” she said.

SEWAGE PLANT OPERATOR – Virginia Mayville has one more step to go before she’s a licensed wastewater plant operator – the DEC qualification test, which she hopes to take soon. The Marion plant needs two operators to maintain certification.

TAPE RECORDER – In an odd occurrence at the end of the meeting, a digital tape recorder, still recording, was discovered where Fontaine had been seated. A town official took a battery out of the recorder, being careful not to touch any settings, and the sheriff’s office was called to come pick it up.


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    Every community has a "gadfly". Fontaine is Marion's local character. No one takes him seriously.

    Posted on Tue Aug 10, 06:15:00 AM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    High Drama.

    Posted on Tue Aug 10, 10:08:00 AM EDT

  3. Jon Said,

    what a crazy way to realize i forgot my recorder at the meeting. how crazy that they called the damn cops. i must be a spy or something if i forgot my digital recorder because im in a hurry at the end of a meeting. wow....

    Posted on Thu Aug 12, 01:00:00 AM EDT

  4. Anonymous Said,

    paging Dr. Ama, are you in the meeting Dr. Ama

    Posted on Thu Aug 12, 12:34:00 PM EDT

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Kudos to John Addyman for reporting what actually goes on at the town board meeting.

    Posted on Thu Aug 12, 03:43:00 PM EDT

  6. Anonymous Said,

    I find it interesting that only one or two people go to the town board meetings. At least someone is trying to hold them accountable.

    Posted on Thu Aug 12, 07:10:00 PM EDT

  7. Jon Said,

    According to the State Police Investigator (apparently the Sheriff said "hot potato" when Jody Bender called)Jody Bender and the rest of the town board members (who stayed in the room) knew that it was my recorder and that I probably left it there by accident.

    However, they filed a complaint and requested that I be arrested for eavesdropping.

    The investigator was blown away that I'm an "accredited member of the press" am the only regular person to attend these meetings, and that they would try to have me arrested for forgetting my recorder. He also found it hard to believe that they thought I would eavesdrop by leaving a recorder out in the open, and then break into a locked court room to get it back.

    Needless to say my recorder was returned to me.... complete with all the discussion leading up to the battery being removed.

    Stay tuned for video links from the meeting....

    Posted on Sun Aug 15, 02:42:00 PM EDT

  8. Jon Said,

    First video is MRB stating that they have no costs to do repairs, did not do repairs because repairs will not work. However during same meeting they say they can give a price for repairs, and that water discharging from the plant is cleaner than the water it is going into.

    Second Video - my guest with municipal project experience makes some very important points



    Posted on Sun Aug 15, 02:42:00 PM EDT

  9. Jon Said,


    my "stir causing" letter from the August 9th meeting....

    Posted on Sun Aug 15, 02:46:00 PM EDT

  10. Jon Said,


    Jody Bender explaining that they won't get a second opinion because they are quite confident with their consultants.

    This is the comment Mike Fonte claims was inappropriate - that I ASKED if there wouldn't be a second opinion because they are a top donator (in fact the highest)

    And, this was also the first time I've seen Jon Addyman at the Board. Nice to see him. Beth Hoad (Wayne Post) is there most of the time. At these Board meetings I also typically have a few other people attend to view the circus... The more the merrier so people can see, I'm not nuts, its our politicians.

    Posted on Sun Aug 15, 03:04:00 PM EDT

  11. Jon Said,

    "Gadfly" is a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or just being an irritant.

    The term "gadfly" (Ancient Greek: μυω̃ψ, myops)[1] was used by Plato in the Apology[2] to describe Socrates' relationship of uncomfortable goad to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse. The Bible also references the gadfly in terms of political influence; The Book of Jeremiah (46:20, Darby Bible) states "Egypt is a very fair heifer; the gad-fly cometh, it cometh from the north." The term has been used to describe many politicians and social commentators.

    During his defense when on trial for his life, Socrates, according to Plato's writings, pointed out that dissent, like the gadfly, was easy to swat, but the cost to society of silencing individuals who were irritating could be very high. "If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me," because his role was that of a gadfly, "to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

    In modern and local politics, gadfly is a term used to describe someone who persistently challenges people in positions of power, the status quo or a popular position.[3] For example, Morris Kline wrote "There is a function for the gadfly who poses questions that many specialists would like to overlook. Polemics are healthy."[4] The word may be uttered in a pejorative sense, while at the same time be accepted as a description of honourable work or civic duty.[5]
    Look up gadfly in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
    [edit] See also

    Posted on Sun Aug 15, 03:20:00 PM EDT

  12. Robin Hood Said,

    How's that jail time treating you Jon the Thief!?

    Posted on Mon Mar 27, 12:48:00 PM EDT


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